Picking a Wedding Photographer
You only get one shot at great wedding photos so it’s essential that you find the right photographer. Because the best photographers are often in high demand, you should start your search as soon as you know your date and book well in advance. Begin by talking to friends and family who have gone through the process to see if they have tips or recommendations. Having a personal connection is the best way to know you’re getting someone reliable! Also make sure to bring up the subject with any wedding planners or venue managers involved with your wedding. Even in a big city, the wedding planning community is a small one and anyone in the business is likely to have good referrals to provide.
If you want to branch out and find a few more options on your own, checking online is another great way to go. WeddingPhotographerUSA is one resource to look into but as soon as you start googling you’re bound to find dozens of other options. Create a list of your top options and start perusing their websites. What tone do you want to set for your photos? Playful? Romantic? The photographer’s choices will play a big part in determining how your event will look in your wedding album so make sure you've discussed exactly what you want.
While most photographers will have a few great shots on their site you have to make sure they can consistently deliver great results. As you start to meet with your top candidates look at full wedding albums to see what their overall work is like. Anyone can find one great shot, but consistently great results are the mark of a pro.
During your meeting, don’t be afraid to bring in examples of other work that you like, whether they’re wedding photos or your favorite Doisneau photos. Being very clear about what you like and what you don’t will help the photographer know what kind of gear they’ll need to bring and what approach to take. Whether you know the difference between a 50mm lens and an 85mm, if you can show a photographer some examples of what you like and what you don't they'll know what they need to do. Don't be afraid to ask questions and get a very detailed list of the shots you want and the way you want the day to go. This is your big day after all and the more information you give the more it'll help everyone else know what to do. In your meeting you should also discuss the budget and what you’ll be getting at the end, whether it be actual prints or simply photos CDs.
Equally important to the quality of their photography work are their people skills. Remember, this is someone who will be interacting with you and your closest family and friends on one of the most special days of your life, so make sure it’s someone who will have the appropriate professionalism for the occasion.
Once you’ve determined your plan and set the final cost, make sure to set everything down in a contract with all of the particulars laid out to avoid any confusion later. Being thorough in every aspect of finding your photographer will insure that you get photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.